About fifteen minutes before my
reading at the Great Oak, nobody had turned up. We had wine, and
snacks, and stacks of books, but no audience. I was beginning to think
this whole homecoming reading was going to be a dud. I've had readings
like that before. In Waterstones, in Cardiff, the BYT team read to two
people, and each other.
this wasn't Cardiff - this was my nearly-still home town. I should
have known better than to doubt it. As the time approached, the people
started to arrive. There were neighbours from our street, the poet
Chris Kinsey from Newtown, our good friends Ian and Danie from
Llandrindod, Reg Massey, a reviewer for the local magazine Pencambria,
Sion, currently doing his MA in writing at Aberystwyth, a lady who had
come to view our house with her friend (it's still up for sale - a great
deal, seriously, you should check it out), and another woman who came
in looking for a birthday present for her daughter, and ended up buying The Drive.
And others as well. The local paper sent its photographer, and we all
squeezed in there somehow. The wine got drunk, the nibbles got
nibbled. Afterwards a few of us went up the street to The Stag for a
couple pints of Purple Moose Snowdonia Ale. The sun was out, it was
market day, and the town was buzzing. Two weeks before, we had left
Llani in a mad blitz of packing and scrambling, and coming back gave me a
chance to really appreciate the place we'd lived, and say good-bye.